Are You Itchy From Shaving?

Simple Ways to Beat and Treat

Itchy Legs
Ian Hooton/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Getting itchy from shaving is a common side effect, but one that can easily be prevented and treated. Often it's because the skin is dry or irritated from shaving or a product. And with some simple care, your skin can be hair-free without wanting to scratch it after every time you pick up the razor.

What's Going on Your Skin?

A high alcohol content in shaving gel or cream, or aftershave can dry skin out (if it already isn't), make it itch, feel overly tight or leave it red.

Also, fragrances and other ingredients may be irritating or causing an allergic reaction, ranging from mild to severe.

Choose products containing little to no alcohol (it shouldn't be at the beginning of ingredients list). Instead look for moisturizing and soothing ingredients like aloe vera, natural oils, vitamin e, and glycerin.

If fragrance tends to cause a reaction, opt for fragrance-free products or ones that use essential oils or natural fragrance. However, we can be allergic or sensitive to any ingredient, man-made or natural. And what causes a reaction for one person may not for another.

Do you feel like the alcohol in the aftershave 'closes' your pores and prevents pimples? Finish your shower with cool water or splash some on at the sink to get a healthy tight-skin sensation. And be assured that a good quality aftershave will have ingredients to fight bacteria that can lead to pimples and infections.

Rinse and Pat Dry

If shaving cream or gel isn't completely removed the leftover residue can encourage redness, dryness, and itchiness. Be sure to rinse skin thoroughly, making sure all traces of product are gone. After coming out of the shower or bath, pat skin dry with a towel instead of rubbing. 

Is It Razor Burn?

Also called razor rash, it's a serious irritation that can be somewhat mild to very severe.

Redness, burning, soreness, itchiness, and skin that looks scratched are classic signs. 

This is different from other side effects of hair removal. Razor burn shouldn't be confused with razor bumps or ingrown hair, where the hair is growing in the skin.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

Shaving exfoliates skin and we really need to moisturize and protect it. Dry skin often leads to itchy skin. Using a couple drops of pre-shaving oil (compare prices on Amazon) under the cream or gel not only provides moisture power but helps create a barrier on the skin, so the razor glides instead of pulls. Finish off with an aftershave lotion, oil or balm.

Don't think this step is only for the guys, it's for women too. Well-hydrated skin not only affects how it feels but also how it looks. We all want a healthy, glowing complexion. Not dry, flake city.

Have you ever noticed it tends to itch more after shaving where there's thicker hair, like underarms, on a man's face or the bikini zone? Shaving creates a sharp tip and coarse hair pokes when growing. A daily dose of lotion or oil softens hair a bit making it less prickly. If it really needs some intense help, slap on some conditioner while showering, wait and rinse off.

Be Careful Of

  • Hot water. It feels good in the bath or shower but depletes moisture. Use warm instead.
  • Deodorants and deodorant soaps. Strong bacteria fighters can really strip skin and zap moisture. Good choices are moisturizing deodorant soaps that use natural oils and essential oils to prevent odor. Deodorants with cream bases tend to be gentler and provide some ingredients to hydrate and replenish over watery roll-ons and sprays, where alcohol is often the first ingredient.
  • Bump-fighters. They do a good job fighting ingrown hair and razor bumps because of using powerful exfoliators to remove dead skin cells so the hair can release from the skin and point up. But over time with many applications, it may be too much exfoliating combined with shaving and make skin scream. Use only as directed or apply less often.
  • Swimming pools, hot tubs, tanning beds and a lot of direct sunlight. The high chlorine content in pools and hot tubs, along with the high temperatures in the latter are not a skin's friend. Tanning, either by bed or beach, can cause nasty burns not to mention dry, itchy, flaky skin.
  • What you're wearing (or not). Hair provides some protection. When it's gone, skin is more susceptible to chafing from clothes that are too tight. The friction created from hairless thighs rubbing together when wearing a skirt sans hose (especially when it's hot or humid) can also cause a rash that begs for scratching.

But I'm Itchy Now

  • Aloe vera gel. It not only immediately soothes and moisturizes but helps heal and take out that sting. Using the fresh gel directly from a plant is the best way to go. If not, make sure the store-bought gel you use actually contains aloe vera and not just green coloring.
  • Hydrocortisone cream. Easy to pick up at the drugstore and works for most people quickly.
  • Colloidal oatmeal baths. There's a reason why babies with diaper rash and people with chicken pox soak in this. Don't let the fancy name confuse you, it's just ground up oatmeal. Sold at the store, but can easily be made at home (get directions). A good choice when it's your legs or bikini zone needing help.